Amazon India must have had anticipated nationwide protests from industry bodies like the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) as Jeff Bezos arrives in India for a three-day visit but the sudden anti-trust probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over deep discounting and preferential listings on both Amazon and Flipkart has come as a surprise for the ecommerce giant.
According to The New York Times, “instead of garlands, India”s supervision is welcoming him (Bezos) with a new antitrust case”.
The CCI inquiry, prompted by association of small traders, is particularly related to the online sales of mobile phones. The case was filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh as the informant versus Flipkart Internet, owned by Walmart and Amazon Sellers, as opposite parties.
The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) has also filed a petition with the CCI, alleging that Amazon India favours merchants that are its subsidiary, such as Cloudtail and Appario.
The CCI probe is something Amazon must be worried about as Indian regulators are finally ”evolving”, taking stern action against multinationals like Google in the recent past.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, the CCI”s move to initiate an anti-trust probe against Amazon and Flipkart marks a significant shift in how it views digital commerce in India.
“The move follows from its seven-month-long market study that CCI undertook, that recommended ”greater transparency” and ”self-regulation” by the market players. It remains to be seen what changed for CCI to initiate the probe. All said, this is still a work-in-progress, with the last word yet to be spoken,” Ram told IANS.
Source: Outlook India